TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. - Tarpon Springs is famous for its historic sponge docks. Every year, thousands of people visit the restaurants and shops built around them.
The city owes much of its existence to the sponges and the Greek divers who first arrived to harvest them in the early 1900s.
"The fishermen were up here from Key West and they saw the sponges in the water so they got ahold of some of the divers in Greece and they came over and they started with their diving boats," explained Susan Devita with the chamber of commerce. "And that’s why all the stores now are all descendants of the sponge divers, and the restaurants also."
Of the 26,000 people in the city, Devita says, 25 percent are of Greek heritage.
"When you come down here, you get to see the Greek culture," she continued. "People say when they go to Greece, they come here and it’s a lot like Greece was."
The docks along Dodecanese Boulevard are the main attractions. Visitors can sit along the Anclote River, grab a bite to eat, and watch the sponge boats and fishing boats arrive.
"When a boat comes in, they’re full of sponges," Devita added. "People get to see them clean the sponges. They put them all over the docks and people love that."
LINK: Learn more at www.tarponspringschamber.org